Most doctors and health experts say losing 1-3 pounds per week is a healthy rate of weight loss. If you want to lose 3 pounds a week, there are some dietary and physical activity guidelines you will need to follow. Now you might be saying to yourself “I can’t lose weight” but no matter who you are, you CAN lose weight. It is more difficult for some to lose, but not impossible – you just have to work harder and be a little more diligent.
Let’s take a look at how to lose 3 pounds a week:
The most important aspect of getting past the “I can’t lose weight” mindset is to understand that you can lose weight if you commit to change over the long term. This is difficult for people who want quick results without minimal effort. If you prepare your mind that you are going to commit to a long-term effort, then your expectations will be reasonable and achievable. You won’t lose 3 pounds a week over the aggregate if you only want to go on a fad diet.
So what does a “lifestyle change” entail? It means healthy eating and physical activity in moderation (think tortoise and the hare with you being the tortoise). Moderation equates to achievable and lasting results. Fad diets equal some results in the short term, followed by increased weight gain and lowered self-esteem.
Losing 3 pounds a week requires tracking every single calorie. Why? Because the handful of nuts, crackers, or whatever kind of food that you might graze on during the day that you might feel like is no big deal will add up quick and rob you of your progress.
Losing weight requires creating a calorie deficit. It’s easy to nickel and dime yourself to an additional 300-500 calories a day. Study after study shows that people who track their caloric intake lose 50% more weight than those who don’t. The main reason is that we think we eat far less than we do.
Figure Basal Metabolic Rate
Your BMR is how many calories it takes to keep you going when doing nothing. It’s the amount of calories your body would burn if you did nothing for 24 hours. There are plenty of BMR calculators online that will tell you this information, like the one we have here. To calculate your BMR, all you need to know is your height and weight. With your BMR number, you can then use the Harris Benedict equation to figure out how many calories you would need to consume to maintain your current weight. Yes, it seems like a lot of math, but it’s really very simple.
Harris Benedict Equation
The HBE is:
- sedentary (little or no exercise) Formula = BMR x 1.2
- light activity (easy exercise 1-3 days/week) Formula = BMR x 1.375
- moderate activity (moderately strenuous exercise 3-5 days/week) Formula = BMR x 1.55
- high activity (strenuous exercise 6-7 days a week) Formula = BMR x 1.725
- extreme active (very strenuous exercise 7 days a week) Formula = BMR x 1.9
For example, if your BMR is 1700 calories and you are lightly active, your caloric needs would be:
1700 x 1.375 = 2337.5 calories per day to maintain your current weight. With this magical number, you can calculate a caloric deficit that will help you lose that 3 pounds per week.
One pound is 3500 calories. To lose 3 pounds per week, you need to create a deficit in calories through exercise and diet that equals 10,500 calories. That means you have to create a daily deficit of 1,500 calories per day. A very tall task but doable nonetheless.
Let’s say you cut back your calories to 1,400 per day. That’s a deficit of 937.5 already (2337.5-1400). That means you need to burn an average of 562.5 per workout per day to reach your 1400 calorie deficit goal. It’s not likely you will work out every day so it’s best to burn over that amount per workout.